Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Ba Ba Black SheepDog...

Being a paranoid kind of guy about missing ferries, planes and the like I am sitting at the dock five hours before the Spirit of Tasmania load time.  Trading a lunch of eggs and coffee for some wi-fi, it seemed an opportune time to get some more pictures uploaded from last weeks' swing about the Great Ocean Road and into the farm and ranchlands in the Grampians.






Roobie took me on a great ride along the Great Ocean Road.  The twists and turns were spectacular, and the view of the water on the left was always thrilling, if not a bit scary on a few hair turns.  It reminded me of an express version of the Highway running along California's coast, north of San Francisco.  The good news is that there were not any Kamakazi squids on crotch rockets burning up the twisties, and I was able to amble along and enjoy the view and the ride.




I had been alerted to a Championship Sheep Dog trial in Port Fairy, just up the road a bit.  Although my first love has been Labradors, I do appreciate the unique and powerful relationship between a truly working dog and his handler.  Watching the trials, it became very clear that these dogs and their people were in fact the best in Australia.  Without a shout and sometimes only a flick of their hand, the shepherds were able to direct the dogs from across the field.  The dogs exhibited an uncanny understanding of the needs of the handlers, and watching them focus on the sheep was truly an opportunity to see world-class animals in action.














The old Yellow Dog in the middle told me to bugger off.  He looks more Dingo than Sheep Dog, so I heeded his wishes...

These riders had rolled in espescially for the trials.  I didn't see any colours, so I don't suspect that they were 1% ers....

I moved on to Port Gambier to see the fabulous Blue Lake..


 The different layers of volcanic sediment are evident around the rim of the Lake.  It truly was a deep blue...(not as spectacular as Kalamalka Lake)...but well worth seeing as an oddity out in the hills.


The hand-hewn stone work that the early settlers had produced as they developed the water-works was very interesting, as each rock is individually hewn and set, without mortar.




I have to say that Australia has the biggest Grouse that I have ever seen....



Aside from the fauna in OZ, the trees are something else.  These may be red gums, eucalyptus, or even ghost gums....I think that they are spectacular, and one sees these old dead giants sitting out in the middle of fields, a testament to better times...


 Roobie takes a rest, as the interior was heating up, and so was I


I didn't believe the sign for a minute, but then again a Ranger told me that they get one or two tourists a year that way...




I like my new helmet, and I have stopped worrying about whether it is compliant with Aussie laws...


 This is how you say" it is bloody hot, Mate".  (I think that it was 45 in Alice Springs today, so I should not whine)
I arrived at Hall's Gap, and spent some time wandering about the culture center, dedicated to the local Aboriginal Band.




This was a culturally adapted tree.  Apparently a shield was cut from the tree hundreds of years ago....


The cultural building was built to symbolize a Parakeet, which was the totem of the local band.  The design was strikingly similar to the school in Waglisla, B.C., which is designed to reflect an Eagle.


Inside the culture center, there were descriptions of the different motifs used by artists to depict their Dreamings...

 This is a wedge-tail Eagle...


Did I mention that the trees have wonderful wood textures, and the furniture made from the different species is truly remarkable..

The jazz festival was great, with lots of folks enjoying some wonderful music.  






If these are the size of the mice in Australia, I am wondering how big the cats are....




As I swung back to Melbourne, I went through a series of smaller towns and hamlets.  Without fail, the communities revere their war dead and show a great deal of respect for their servicemen.  In many of the cenotaphs, one sees a series or wars where the same family has given up their sons, brothers, and fathers to the insanity of battle...


The architecture in these smaller towns echoes a different era.  Folks seem perfectly happy with this, and it is refreshing to enjoy a step back in time...






I was into gold country. In the late 1800's this area of Australia and Victoria in particular, came alive with the discovery of gold.  The nugget below (a replica, by the way) weighed over 2600 ounces.  In the museum, there were half a dozen samples  of these huge pieces of gold.


I have enjoyed the blue skies and open spaces of Victoria.  I suspect that Tasmania may bring a change in weather, and certainly a different perspective of this great land.